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Climate-related plans and strategies

A picturesque farm in a foggy valley.

This page includes information about Council plans and strategies that relate to sustainability, the protection of our environment and climate change.

Environment strategy

The Mount Alexander Shire Council Environment Strategy 2015 - 2025 sets out Council’s long-term goals and strategic approach to environmental stewardship over the next ten years, under eight priority areas.

The eight priority areas for action fall under the overarching themes of partnerships, positions and programs to guide Council’s work in environment and sustainability.

Priority areas include partnering with the community and external organisations, reducing resource consumption and improving resource recovery, protecting natural environmental assets, integrating Council’s response to climate change, leading by example and incorporating environmental and sustainable considerations into decision making.

Many priority areas for action are linked to each other, such as managing greenhouse gases from waste to tackle climate change. Action plans under the priority areas are being developed with further consultation with the community, to deliver change in areas such as urban waterway management, waste management, asset management and water use.

Roadmap to carbon neutrality: emissions reduction plan for our operations

Council adopted its Roadmap to Carbon Neutrality 2020 - 2025 : Emissions reduction plan for our operations in August 2020. The roadmap sets out Councils plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in its own operations across its vehicle fleet, buildings, street lighting, procurement and waste management.

Actions will lead to meeting our target of zero net emissions by 2025 and will entail investment in offsetting activities that “net out” those emissions that cannot be reduced. Actions are prioritised according to a cost-benefit analysis to ensure that Council invests in actions with the best returns while maintaining its services and a sustainable long term budget.

Progress in delivery of the Roadmap can be viewed in the 2022 Roadmap Progress Report. Highlights of this update are that Council now sources operational electricity from wind power and has upgraded the bulk of the Shire’s street lighting to energy-efficient LEDs. The process of capping the landfill has also begun, which will enable gas flaring in the future, greatly reducing legacy landfill emissions. The Progress Report is designed to be read in conjunction with the original Roadmap.

Climate change action plan

Human influence on the global climate system is responsible for global warming and the related impacts on people and ecosystems and so strong and effective global and local action on climate change is in everyone's interest.

The Mount Alexander Shire Council Climate Change Action Plan 2016 - 2020 recommended more than 60 actions for Council to undertake to radically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change vulnerability.

This plan is in the process of being reviewed.

A Climate Change Strategy will soon be in development. This will be an overarching document that will frame Council’s actions in both adaptation and mitigation, across our own operations and in partnership with others.

The commitment to a Climate Change Strategy formed part of Council’s 2019 motion to declare a climate emergency and will pick up where the current Climate change Action Plan left off.

Climate adaption plan

In 2014 Council adopted the Regional Climate Adaptation Plan which identifies the risks, vulnerabilities and priority climate change adaptation actions for six partner Councils in the Southern Loddon Mallee Region.

Council is working in partnership with the ADAPT Loddon Mallee Program of the State Government to assist our community to meaningfully contribute to climate adaption.

Emergency management

Local government plays a significant role in engaging local communities, building resilience and helping communities plan for emergencies and disasters.

Through our Integrated Municipal Emergency Management Plan, Council works with other councils, various agencies and the community to undertake prevention and mitigation activities to reduce the likelihood, or minimise the consequences, of emergencies that may occur in the area, including floods, bushfires, heatwaves, pest incursions and disease.

Climate change and health

Our Council is one of many organisations and agencies required to comply with the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan (2019 – 2023), which includes the strategic objective of tackling climate change and its impact on health.

Within this framework, Council is working to better understand and assess the risks of climate change to public health, promote community adaptation to the public health risks associated with climate change, and assess the health co-benefits of measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Waste management

In 2020 the Castlemaine landfill was closed and general waste destined for landfill collected and processed by our contractor Veolia at their Patho site.

A landfill rehabilitation plan will be implemented over 2020 - 2022 that will see the site’s fugitive emissions capped and flared resulting in an expected decrease in locally generated greenhouse emissions by up to 80%.

Council will be investing in a resource recovery centre at the site and investigating actions to assist the community in reducing waste to landfill in line with our long term goal of towards zero waste.

Walking and cycling

Council will be reviewing and updating the Walking and Cycling Strategy 2010 - 2020.

The revised document will be an innovative guide that identifies why, where and how Council will invest in encouraging and increasing the number and proportion of people in the shire who regularly walk and/or ride bicycles for transport and recreation.

The document will identify what can be done by Council and will also be a key advocacy tool for attracting investments from external grant sources. It will guide Council’s continuing investment in upgrading footpaths and trails.

Planning scheme and climate change

The Mount Alexander Planning Scheme outlines strategies to increase the shire’s resilience to the adverse effects of climate change by discouraging certain land use and development activities that would place society at greater risk, and encouraging developments that capture and re-use water.

The scheme also seeks to minimise risks such as flooding, soil degradation and bushfire risk through a range of targeted strategies, guidelines and strategic work specific to our region.

Integrated water management

Council acknowledges the aim of Integrated Water Management (IWM) and the importance of managing water supply and demand carefully within our climate impacted environment.

Council has recently commissioned an IWM plan for Castlemaine to assist with the protection of waterways, to gain advice regarding climate resilient water supply and assess options for water sensitive urban design in future developments within Castlemaine.

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